Tornado and Severe Weather Safe Room Shelters

Tornado and Severe Weather Safe Room Shelters Provide Critical Protection

Spring is traditionally the beginning of severe weather and tornado season, and this year is no exception. 2015 has been especially hard on folks living in tornado alley and other locations prone to severe weather events like tornadoes.

Even if you don’t live in tornado country you may still be susceptible to severe weather damage. High winds caused by thunderstorms and hurricanes can cause major property damage and bodily harm, or even loss of life. You should always protect your family and possessions by seeking shelter any time severe weather is in your area.

Ideally most communities should have local shelters to protect their citizens, but that may not always be the case. Many communities are adding new shelters for the public general welfare. A good example of a community shelter is the new severe-weather safe room next to the fire station in Fultondale, AL. The concrete building can accommodate up to 300 people and is designed to withstand wind speeds of 250 miles per hour in up to three-second gusts.

This is a great example of a community coming together to protect its citizens, however, not all communities have the funds for such projects and many people may find themselves at home when severe weather strikes. You may only have moments to seek shelter. The best way to protect your family and property is by having your own tornado shelter – safe room.

Safe Rooms Provide Your Best Defense in Severe Weather

shelterWhether for your home or business your safe room shelter needs to meet FEMA standards. The guidelines are very comprehensive, but the bottom line is your shelter needs to be firmly adhered to the foundation and constructed in such a way as to protect the occupants during severe weather events like a tornado. Safe Rooms can be located in your home or built externally, but should not be more than 150 feet from your main living area.

There are several solutions to creating the best safe room shelter for your situation. A pre-made shelter designed to meet FEMA standards for tornado or sever weather events is a good choice. The shelter is designed to withstand the strong forces it may encounter, and if properly installed will provide solid security for you and your family. Another option is to build your own reinforced shelter and add a high quality vault door for ultimate strength. To decide which option is best for you it is always best to consult with a professional. Sportsman has been building both Safe Room Storm Shelters and Vault Doors for Shelters for over 36 years. You are invited to call for more information about the best safe room, storm shelter solution for you or your business.

Gun Safe Fireproofing. We use 6000 Degree Concrete!

Is it true gun safes only use drywall for fire-proofing?
Yes! I’d estimate 98% of gun safes only use a gypsum fire board material.

Is there anything better?
Yes, concrete! That’s what bank vaults use for fireproofing. In our quest to build the best gun safe, we offer a 6000 Degree Concrete.

Watch our JET BOARD CONCRETE FIRE MATERIAL video! We put a 6000 Degree torch of drywall & JET Board concrete! It’s 5 x more heat resistant than drywall. HERE’S THE GREAT NEWS! Our gun safes with concrete fireproofing are the same price as competitor’s gun safes with drywall. Buy our deluxe gloss paint jobs & get the concrete fireproofing free this month.

Hello Gun Safe Buyers

Hello Gun Safe Buyers,

Recently an article came out on gun safes that illustrated the dos and don’t of buying a gun safe. They talked about the importance of bolts, seamless constructed bodies and 30 Min fireproofing.

They made a few good points, but a few were off.

First, whether a gun safe body is seamless or welded is not very important.
Sure you don’t want a gun safe with minimal 2″ long welds connection your safe pieces, but a gun safe box with continuous welds on the inside seams is very, very strong. Having a seamless box isn’t important. I’ve never heard of a single gun safe having their welds popped in 35 years. But I have heard of gun safe doors being pried open because the door frames were too thin.

Which brings me to my next point. You need a thick steel frame in front of your bolts. How many bolts you have in your door doesn’t mean anything if your gun safe has a thin protective frame. When you pry a gun safe door, the bolts will bent back a thin protective frame and the door opens. That’s why Sportsman Steel’s gun safes have massive, thick 3/4″ frames which are near impossible to pry.

The article also states with enough time you can get into any gun safe. This is kind of true, but there are several things you can do that will make breaking into your safe almost impossible. One is building an interior shell of torch-resistant stainless steel. A good 1/2″ stainless steel interior will make torching the safe very, very hard. Sportsman sells an stainless steel bodies for as little as $1500 depending on your size. View all of our gun safes here.

So call if you want to know more about gun safes or vault doors. We’re here to help.

Kevin Hand, CEO Sportsman Vaults – 800 266-7150
Clients: FBI, CIA & U.S. Secret Service
View Our Vault Products:


Coffee, Burritos, and a side of Ammunition? Restaurants Take a Stance on Gun Control

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This is stated in the American constitution, however the meaning is often timed debated. Sure, the right to bear arms means that Americans have the right to own a gun, but should they have the right to carry that gun? And if so, should there be any limits as to where the gun can be carried such as in restaurants? This seems to be a huge issue that moms are demanding answers to and restaurant chains including Chipotle and Starbucks are left to make a huge decision: should they honor the right to bear arms in their restaurants?

Gun Purse

By now you’ve probably heard about the recent gun scandal regarding Chipotle. In the middle of May, a Texas Chipotle was blasted for allowing a group of men to do an “open carry” demonstration while armed with military rifles to openly meet inside of the restaurant. A photograph of the occurrence quickly made its way onto Facebook and became a viral sensation. Moms were outraged and garnered support from former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Together, Bloomberg and Moms Demand Action created a campaign demanding that Chipotle forbid guns and rifles from being carried into their restaurants. Chipotle responded just a few days later announcing that they would ban guns from being inside their restaurants unless being carried by law enforcement officials in an effort to make their customers feel more comfortable and safe.

Chipotle’s not the only restaurant to take action against guns either. Back in September Starbucks requested that their customers no longer bring guns inside their store. However, as noted in CEO Howard Schultz’s open letter, Starbucks was not outright banning guns from their restaurants. There reason? They wanted gun owners to have the ability to responsibly carry their guns and they thought this would help ensure the safety of their employees.

Chipotle and Starbucks are both recent examples of restaurants doing their best to make their customers happy and to keep their restaurants safe from firearms. While they both have a bit of a different stance on the issue of gun control, safety is still their number one priority. Rather than having customers openly carry a gun into their restaurant, Chipotle and Starbucks would both prefer to hear that their customers have chosen to keep their guns at home, locked away in secured gun safes.


5 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Gun Safe

Are you a new gun owner?

If so, you may be considering some accessories you’d like to purchase to go along with your new guns. Gun oil, a cleaning kit, holsters, extra ammunition, and magazines may be the first things to come to mind. However, the most important accessory to buy for your gun is a gun safe.

Gun in hand being placed in gun safe.

Owning a gun safe is especially crucial if you live with children who may have access to a gun if it is left out in the open. Choosing a gun safe can seem like an overwhelming process. There are many different sizes and styles to choose from. Here are the questions you should ask before purchasing a gun safe to ensure you purchase the best one for your current and future needs.

What Size Gun Safe Do I Need?

Gun safes come in various sizes from a small gun safe that can hold a maximum of 7-10 guns to a larger gun safe that can hold up to a few hundred guns. Take inventory of all of your guns and then be sure to choose a size that allows you extra room. For example, if you have 7 guns and a small gun safe only holds 7 guns you may want to consider purchasing a medium sized safe instead. This will allow you to have storage space should you decide to purchase more guns down the road. You can also use the extra space to store other valuables such as jewelry and money or even gun accessories and ammunition. You will also want to consider the length and width of the gun safe. For example, if you mainly own long rifles then you will need a longer gun safe.

What Kind of Lock Does the Gun Safe Have?

Gun safes can come equipped with various forms of locks. Some have passcodes while others have dual locks with multiple relockers. Be sure that whichever gun safe you choose has an effective working lock that is not easy to hack into. Avoid purchasing a safe that has a simple lock and key as this may be easy for unauthorized persons or children to break into. Always test the lock before purchasing a gun safe to ensure it works properly and offers maximum security.

Where Will I Store My Gun Safe?

It’s a good idea to plan where you will store your gun safe before purchasing it. Make sure you have adequate storage space for it. You will want to put it somewhere that it will be safe and secured. Many gun safe owners like to mount their gun safes to the floor to ensure maximum safety and to prevent it from tipping over. You’ll also want to choose a place that is not frequented by children.

Is the Gun Safe Tested for Safety?

Never buy a gun safe that has not been tested for safety and security. Always ask about their safety guarantee and how gun safes are tested. Here at Sportsman Steel Safes our safes are tested with drills to ensure that they are drill-proof. None of our safes have ever been successfully broken into before. You should never buy a gun safe that does not come with a safety guarantee or that has not been tested prior to its sale.

Is the Gun Safe Fireproof?

No one likes to think about the possibility of having their home catch on fire. However, it always pays to be prepared for the worst. Many gun safe owners like to use their safes to store other valuables including extra money so that in the event of a fire they still have a reserve. This is why having a fire-proof gun safe is so essential. If you store your most valuable items and/or an emergency fund away in a safe that is not fire-proof, then you will have lost everything in the event of a fire. Additionally, fire-proof gun safes add an extra layer of security that can help to prevent break ins or destruction from burglars.

Choosing a proper gun safe is just as important if not more so than choosing your actual gun. When you ask yourself these five questions prior to purchasing a gun safe you’ll be sure to purchase on that will keep your guns safe and secured to the maximum extent.

5 Things You Need to Know About Smart Guns

By now you’ve probably heard of the newest sensation in the world of guns: smart guns.

Smart guns, also known as “authorized user recognition” guns are designed to be a safer alternative to the traditional gun and to prevent unauthorized personnel from using them. This is done through the use of computerized technology similar to the technology your smart phone uses.

Picture of the new smart gun that runs on batteries, with bullets.

Smart guns have been in the news a lot lately. It seems as though people either fully endorse the concept of smart guns or are adamantly against them. Regardless of which side of the smart gun debate you are on, here are the 5 most important things you need to know about them.

#1: Smart Guns Will Not be Prone to Failure

Yes, they are designed to be safer. The goal of a smart gun is to prevent unauthorized users from getting a hold of it. However, it still involves the use of technology and technology can and will fail from time to time. Have you ever experienced an issue with your smart phone such as delayed start, freezing, or inability to turn it off? A smart gun is no different and no less prone to these kinds of incidents. This is why you should never ever leave your ammunition inside of it when it is not in use. Also, be sure to keep it away from children at all times. It is recommended to store it in the safest gun safe you can buy to ensure it remains secure at all times when not in use.

#2: In Some States, Smart Guns May Soon Be The Only Legal Guns

While smart gun technology is still fairly new many states are already beginning to develop laws surrounding this new form of technology. New Jersey is one of the first states working to legislate laws that forbid the sale of conventional firearms once the smart guns hit the market. Many are urging Washington to follow through with New Jersey’s plans and mandate bills on a national basis. If you’re a fan of firearms, now would be a good time to become familiar with smart guns and learn to like them. Soon they may be all you can legally own.

#3: Smart Guns Will Run on Batteries

Whereas conventional guns run solely on ammunition, smart guns will require both ammunition and batteries. A smart gun is not your average gun. Rather, it’s a gun powered by a computer that requires energy to run. The batteries will provide it with the energy it needs. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the sale of smart guns is being delayed. Manufacturers must develop an efficient method for alerting smart gun owners of low batteries and reminding them to recharge or replace the batteries. Ideally, a smart gun owner should have an extra battery that is fully charged in case of emergency.

#4: They May Require You to Wear a Special Device

There are many different concepts for smart guns floating around, but one of the most common concepts will require its users to wear a special device such as a watch. The gun will only go off if is within range of the watch or other device. This is just one way that smart gun manufacturers are working to ensure maximum safety.

#5: Possibly More Dangerous than Conventional Guns

Sure, the goal is to create a safer gun and making it inaccessible to unauthorized users will definitely help. However, they use computerized technologies meaning they will be susceptible to hacking. No matter how secured your computerized device is there’s always the rare chance that someone will know how to break the code. Criminals may also be able to break into police weapons and use them against authority which could result in a very dangerous incident.

Conventional guns are still the firearms of choice for most gun owners as smart guns are not yet widely available (California has begun to sell them in February, but most other states have not started selling them yet). However, it is expected that smart guns will become more widely available in the near future and easier to obtain than a conventional gun. For these reasons gun enthusiasts must remain educated and aware of what smart guns are, how they work, and any laws that are created in regards to them.

Choosing the Right Lock for Your Gun Safe

Choosing a proper gun safe is an important decision that affects not only the safety of your firearms, but the protection of your loved ones as well. When weighing your options and choosing which safe works best for your needs, there are several things to consider. Possibly the most important thing to factor into this decision is what type of lock, and how many locking bolts, you should look for in a gun safe. At Sportsman Steel Safes, we want our clientele to be educated on the various types of safes that they can get and which is the best, safest choice for their needs. Here is some information on locking mechanisms and bolts that we think will help you:

The Two main Types of Locking Mechanism

Experts have weighed in on this topic and have offered their thoughts on the two most popular types of gun safe locking mechanisms: combination dial and digital style locks. Opinions throughout the industry typically agree that while combination dial locks are, in fact, slower to open than electronic locks, they are also typically more durable and trustworthy when it comes to actually securing your firearms. It is important to factor in the speed of your firearm’s availability in a crisis situation, however, and the difference in opening time between a dial and digital lock is pretty substantial.


While it is believed to be trickier to determine a combination dial lock’s code after it has been “spun clear,” as opposed to possibly using a program to pick an electric one, the latter offers more security. Electronic locks with digital access allow owners to change codes whenever necessary, as opposed to combo dial locks that require a much longer process. Digital access can also allow for industry upgrades such as fingerprint technology. The debate becomes one of old fashioned strength and durability versus accessibility and versatility. The results are in, and it has been reported that around 80% of gun safe owners actually rely on digital locks, rather than their dial-equipped ancestors.

The great thing about Sportsman Steel Safes, though, is that they don’t just utilize digital locks. Some of their most impressive safes also have physical key locks for extra defense and protection. With the thicker walls and doors, the extra fire protection, and the ample relockers on their safes, it’s easy to see why the FBI uses our products.

How Many Locking Bolts do You Need?

When it comes to the actual locking mechanisms within the safe, and figuring out how many locking bolts are necessary to safely stow your firearms, obviously the more that your safe features, the better. Experts advise that your gun safe should have a minimum of two bolts on each of the four sides of the container, which creates an equal distribution of protection on each side; it is also important to avoid any safe that has bolts on only one or three sides, as it is not as balanced.

The choice of which gun safe to use for your firearms is one that must be well-researched. Industry experts agree that while combination dial lock safes are much more durable, digital locks provide a quicker response time in emergencies and benefit from upgraded technology. Each model has its benefits, and you must weigh which lock type will meet your family’s needs.

If you have any questions or would like some advice about the best gun safe for your needs, call or contact us at Sportsman Steel Safes! We have the experience to help fit the safe to the need.


If You Own Guns, You Should Know CAP Laws

Child access prevention (CAP) laws “impose criminal liability on adults who give children unsupervised access to firearms.” These laws are meant to protect children from unsafe home environments by providing incentive and reminders for parents to engage in safe firearm storage practices. Researchers have found shocking data that reveals that millions of children live in homes with easily accessible guns:

  • Approximately one in every three handguns is kept loaded and unlocked.
  • A 2006 study showed that 73% of children under the age 10 who were living in homes with guns knew their exact location.
  • Worse, 36% of these children claimed to have actually handled the guns.
  • The study also showed that 39% of parents who reported that their children didn’t know the location of their gun safes or weapons and 22% who reported that their kids never held any of their firearms were completely contradicted by their children’s testimony to researchers.

These numbers support the creation of CAP laws, and show how disturbingly accessible home firearms can be.

Research has also linked the accessibility of firearms in one’s home to both juvenile suicide and the possibility of violent outbursts. In July 2004, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education published a study examining 37 school shootings from 1974-2000, which determined that in more than 65% of the cases, the attacker got the gun from his or her own home or that of a relative. Thankfully, research has also showed how effective CAP laws can be. One study found that in 12 states where CAP laws had been in effect for at least one year, unintentional firearm deaths fell by 23% among children under 15 years of age from 1990-1994.

Learn CAP laws by state

A recent article proposes that having CAP laws placed on a federal level could cause a significant drop in the rate of child fatalities across the country. By requiring that parents store their firearms properly in gun safes or by possibly having background checks and waiting periods before purchases can be fulfilled, the incidences of careless people obtaining weapons would decrease. This would, in turn, impact the number of accidental deaths in minors and save many lives, something that most parents can certainly applaud.

While 28 states and D.C. have adopted CAP laws, there are currently still no child access prevention laws at the federal level. In fact, federal law doesn’t specifically require gun owners to safely store their firearms. Federal law does, however, make it “unlawful for any licensed importer, manufacturer or dealer to sell or transfer any handgun unless the transferee is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device.”  The law also “immunizes the lawful owner of a handgun who uses a secure gun storage or safety device from certain civil actions based on the criminal or unlawful misuse of the handgun by a third party.”

No matter what your position, everyone can agree that keeping your children safe should be a priority. So why wait for federal CAP laws to be enacted? With Sportsman Steel Safes, you can ensure that your children never have to become a statistic.

Tips for Purchasing Guns from a Private Seller

At Sportsman Steel Safes, we focus on gun safes and other gun safety issues, but our gun knowledge doesn’t begin and end with safety. We know what first-time gun buyers have on their minds when they’re thinking about purchasing a firearm. Along with the issues of safety, gun type, and ammo type, people spend most of their time considering where they’re going to purchase their gun. We will always advocate going to a licensed and public gun seller. If you do, you won’t have to worry about whether or not the transaction is legal – you’re sure to get a good firearm, and you’ll have a chance of a refund in case anything goes wrong.


We know that, for a variety of reasons, some people will chose to find a gun through a private seller. Again, we always recommend using more traditional means for getting a gun, but if you want to buy from a private seller, make sure to follow these tips:

Check ALL local, state, and federal requirements for private firearm sales

We cannot stress this enough: if you’re going to use a private seller, make sure you know about the laws in your county, town, and state, along with the federal laws governing the sale of firearms. Usually, most places require a simple notification of a change in ownership, but since guns are such a hot-button topic now, new laws and restrictions are being adopted every day.

Make sure the gun has a serial number

By now, nearly every handgun and long gun should come with a manufacturer’s serial number. The purpose of these numbers has nothing to do with manufacturing, and everything to do with the law. Serial numbers are recorded when a gun is first purchased from a dealer so that the police and government can track who owns the gun. Make sure that any weapon you purchase has a valid serial number, and never buy any kind of handgun or long gun that has a scratched off number or missing one. The absence or distortion of a number can be a sign of a stolen weapon.

Always test it out

This may seem like a no brainer, but not testing the weapons has become more of an issue lately, as more people use the Internet to buy guns. Some private sellers may try to con customers by selling them a gun that looks nice, but doesn’t work. Buying a gun that doesn’t work isn’t just a waste of time; it’s almost always a waste of money, if you buy it from a private seller. If you find out that your gun is a dud after you purchase it, you shouldn’t expect a refund. Always ask to test it out before hand, or to physically see the seller test it out.

At Sportsman Steel Safes, we advocate gun safety – and that extends to the purchasing process. If you must buy a gun from a private seller, use due caution. Better yet, avoid the risk and buy from a legitimate seller. And of course, no matter what gun you choose, make sure that you have an adequate gun safe to house it. Contact us today with any questions you may have!

Tips for Choosing the Safest Gun Safes

When choosing the proper gun safe to store your firearms at home, you must research what attributes create the safest gun storage environment. Customers ask us all the time what features can make gun safes the absolute safest. We are more than happy to help educate gun owners on how to pick the right safe that can protect not only guns, but anything from important family documents and photos, to priceless heirlooms in the worst scenarios.

Image: Tips on How To Choose the Safest Gun Safes

Tips on Choosing The Safest Gun Safes

  1. Get a safe that utilizes an electronic digital access. Opinions throughout the industry typically agree that combination dial locks are in fact slower to open than electronic locks. It is extremely important to factor in the speed of your firearm’s availability in a crisis situation, and the difference in opening time between a dial and digital lock is pretty substantial. Additionally, electronic locks with digital access allow owners to change codes whenever necessary as opposed to combo dial locks that require a much longer process. Digital access can also allow for industry upgrades such as fingerprint technology. It has been reported that around 80% of total gun safe owners rely on digital locks, rather than their dial equipped ancestors.
  1. Get a safe that is completely fireproof. Your safe should be certified flame retardant and suitable for surviving temperatures of at least 1500 degrees Fahrenheit; some high end models can even reach levels of 2300 degrees. The exterior of your safe should also include a flame retardant powder coating that helps deter fire, including blow torches during break in attempts.
  1. Get a safe that incorporates a separate steel frame solely for its lock plate. This simple addition greatly prevents common intrusive attempts such as drilling.
  1. Get a safe that has “Jig-Saw step doors,” over traditional flat surface designs. Flat doors rattle and only provide a gasket seal on one level. During a fire, hot air can still get into safes that are only protected through one level of sealing, thus putting your important documents at risk. On the other hand, “step doors” are built like bank vaults and commercial grade safes, sealing your firearms on four separate levels. This type of seal actually creates a gun safe that is airtight and waterproof, as well as fireproof.
  1. Get a safe that is protected under a warranty. In today’s day and age, most companies stand by their work in the form of some sort of warranty. Make sure you choose a well known manufacturer that offers guaranteed protection to your valuables.

If you consider the five tips mentioned above into your decision making when picking out storage for your firearms, you can guarantee that not only your valuables, but your family, will be protected by the safest gun safe possible.

Let us help you make the best possible decision for your firearms protection; whether you buy from us or not, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about gun safes.

Call us at 800-266-7150 or fill out our contact form here.